Hi there! I just finished watching the anime and I have to say, from the first episode on I was totally into Ran Shuuei (and still am). Such a cool character... So, well I thought I'd write something starring him, but I didn't really want to pair him either, so...anyway, here's my story.

Disclaimer: I do not own Saiunkoku Monogatari, otherwise Shuuei would have been the male lead character lol

It was by the end of March that Kou Shuurei started to worry about the gamble that Ryuuki had suggested her a few months ago. She had agreed too easily back then: she had not taken everything into consideration, as she should have done beforehand. Hadn't she always been the kind of person who does not make any decision before having taken the matter into consideration very carefully, reflecting on every angle and every single possibility it could lead to? So, why, oh Gods, WHY had she acted so out of character at that time? Was it because she was too happy to still be waited on, after all these sufferings she knew she had been imposing on Ryuuki? Was it because love, as people say, is always out of reason's reach? Oh, the reason didn't really matter, after all. Now was not the time to reflect on it: she had a more urgent matter to settle. Besides, it was already evening, and she was still in the archives with a report to finish.

The thing was, she could less and less concentrate. That stupid gamble was driving her crazy. To tell the truth, she thought she had never felt so stressed out in her whole life: the approaching deadline made her so nervous she could barely think of anything else. In a few weeks, when the cherry blossoms would bloom, she would agree on marrying Ryuuki. She would marry him. Yes, she would give up on her career and become his wife. She'd move inside the palace to live with him… Oh! they'd certainly be happy. She would dedicate her life to him and help him to the very best of her capabilities. She would bear him an heir…

''An heir!'' she gasped and tried to shrug the thought off, but it was already too late. Panicked, she wrapped and settled her work, leaving it to be finished the next day, and left the palace in a hurry, almost running, with the intention to get home quickly, sit down, brew some Kanru tea and pretend the whole situation was all a lie, and that she was just going to live on merrily as she always had, together with her father and Seiran. So she ran, but her feet seemed to have chosen a different path than her head…and that was how she found herself, panting from the effort of her racing here, in front of the Ran Manor.

''Wow, what a clever move, Shuurei!'' she sarcastically praised herself. ''Coming here is the worst thing I could have done now, or is it? I should just go home. Even though I'm already here now… Should I really just go home? ''

While she pondered this and hesitated on whether to knock or not, a man servant who had noticed her opened the door and welcomed her, politely asking if there was someone she wished to be introduced to. Clenching her fists to gather up her courage, her eyes closed and her head slightly bowed in an attempt to hide her blushing, Shuurei managed to calmly name herself to the man servant and express her wish to be introduced to Ran-Shogun. Presuming she was yet another of his master's admirer, the man smiled within himself to the sight of her apparent shyness, and replied that Ran-Shogun would probably meet her soon, since he rarely ever declined to meet with a beautiful young lady like her. ''Especially at night…'' He gave her a wink and disappeared inside the manor, leaving a heavily blushing Shuurei at the door.

It wasn't very long until she was welcomed in by none other than Ran Shuuei himself, his handsome face bearing a very puzzled and worried expression. He was wrapped in an evening robe and wore his long hair down, which, according to Shuurei, made his traits look gentler, though still in a very manly way.

''Shuurei-dono? Please come in. Are you alright?'' he asked in a deep, caring voice. Since she replied nothing, he insisted.

''What's wrong, Shuurei-dono? It is most unusual for you to pay me a visit - although I am very honoured… - and moreover it's night already... Can I be of any help to you?''

The young lady official still kept silent, her gaze fixed on the floor. She looked sad and nervous, yet determined. He then knew that, no matter what she came to him for, he needed not pressing her, she would speak up when she felt ready to. He knew Shuurei well enough to be certain of that. So he just smiled, and grabbed her hand in his large, callused one to lead her to the tea parlor.

''Let's have tea, shall we?''

Luckily for Shuurei, Saiunkoku's Shogun was very well-bred, and knew how to brew tea to perfection. The beverage's flavour wasn't too bitter nor too diluted, and when he poured it in their cups, she couldn't help but admire the masculine grace of his calculated yet elegant movements.

''It is the first time that you have brewed tea for me, Ran-Shogun. You do it very well.'', she praised him with a sincere smile, yet not a very bright one.

''That is true. I guess the opportunity has never come up before tonight. Like I said earlier, I do not receive visits from you very often. Last time I think was just before I left for Ran Province, was it?''

''Indeed. At that time, I came to see you for business. ''

''Isn't that also the case tonight?'', he asked, certain that she would confirm his guess.

For a long time there was silence, and then she shook her head.

''No, tonight is different.''

Again there was silence. He, on the one hand, was surprised and did not really know what she meant or how to react, and she, on the other, had not yet gathered all the courage she needed to communicate him the goal of her visit. Slowly, Shuuei poured himself another cup of tea: Shuurei's was still half-full, so he decided not to offer a refill.

''I came…'' began she, ''because I have decided to accept Ryuuki's proposal.''

''Woah! But, that's good news, isn't it? Does he know, yet?''

She shook her head.

''He's going to be overjoyed!'' Shueei continued. ''But, Shuurei-dono, why are you looking so uneasy? And why did you announce it to me first? Isn't that the kind of thing you should first tell His Majesty?''

''That's because….if I marry Ryuuki…I'll….'' the young lady blushed heavily then, and, avoiding his gaze, threw in one breath: ''I'll-have-to-bear-him-an-heir-so-I'll-have-to-have-sex-with-him-right?''

''Er…that is correct?'' answered the Shogun, puzzled.

This time Shuurei lifted her head, and although still blushing, looked at him in the eyes and, with a very serious voice, finally dared to ask:

''Ran-Shogun, please teach me about sex.''

Shuuei's eyes widened from astonishment, and his chin fell too, leaving him open-mouthed for a few seconds.

''Whaa- ? -T-t-That's nons…I mean- What are you say-saying?'' he stuttered.

''I said: Ran-Shogun, please teach me about sex. I'm so nervous about having sex with him that I'm afraid I'll turn Ryuuki's proposal down just because I'm afraid he won't be satisfied… maybe he'll get tired of me, I mean, what if I am no good? I'm totally inexperienced so I –''

''But even if that is the case, why did you come to me? And how am I supposed to teach you about sex? Want me to explain how to…pleasure a man? Or such things? ''

''No, if I wanted theory, I would have asked Kouyou-sama, but…''

She was interrupted by loud laughter.

''Sorry for my rudeness'' apologized Shuuei still choking with laughter, ''but that is the funniest thing I've heard lately. I'm just having the image of Kouyou's face if you had asked him to teach you about sex, oh God, it's just hilarious…. Never ask that guy, who knows what knowledge he has of such things anyway - and he'll be embarrassed to death if you do. But, couldn't you have asked Kouchou or something?''

'' I guess I could have. But, like I said, I do not want theory, I want to experience the real thing…and…I thought…who knows best about such things, if not Ran-Shogun, a man who's skills in bed are even worth Kouchou's praise... Do you know, you're the only man she praises? So…I have to admit also, I am a bit curious, knowing this, about how it feels like to be held by such a man…''

Shuurei's shyness on that subject pierced through the way she uttered those sentences. Her face was a very pretty shade of pink, and her gaze fixed on her cup of tea. She was indeed very cute. A kind of smirk-ish smile grew on Shuuei's face as he let the meaning of her words sink in.

''Could it be, Shuurei-dono, that you actually want me?''

Her cheeks turned bright red again.

''About that…I…er…I guess I can't really deny…''

''If that is the case then it can't be helped. I will teach you about sex.''

He rose and called for a servant. Within a few seconds, an old lady appeared in the room, to whom Shuuei discretely gave orders. Then, he turned back to the young official who still sat at the table sipping her tea.

''So then, Shuurei-dono, would you like to bathe first?''